Written by Harry Roberts on CSS Wizardry.
Ten years ago today, a seventeen-year old Harry decided to register the domain csswizardry.com. It was such a small and inconsequential decision at the time: I only bought the domain because NuBlue, a British hosting firm, was running a promotional offer in which a .com domain and a year’s hosting was about £39 (I actually had to use my mother’s credit card, because I wasn’t old enough to have one of my own). As I clicked that checkout button, little did I know that that simple purchase would be the defining part of the next decade of my life.
I chose the name CSS Wizardry because I knew I wanted to start a blog showcasing CSS tricks and techniques, and I’d also just finished reading Andy’s CSS Mastery which is a book that inspired me greatly. I actually loathe the name CSS Wizardry now, but it’s stuck too well for me to change it: I guess it’s here to stay. Incidentally, a lot of people think the name choice was making a play on the whole Harry/wizard thing—it wasn’t.
Fast forward a decade, and that whimsical purchase has probably been the most influential decision I ever made. What started off as an overly-confident teenager’s foray into front-end development ultimately led to my first job, a speaking career, and a full-time consultancy firm. I struggle to believe it, sometimes.
Over the last ten years I’ve been fortunate enough to work for a number of companies, both large and small, as a salaried front-end developer; I’ve spoken and workshopped at over 85 public events (and countless other private ones); I was able to start my own consultancy business through which I’ve worked with some truly amazing clients; I’ve been able to travel the world visiting over 35 different countries; I’ve met countless new people and made many wonderful new friends; I’ve experienced more amazing things than I feel I deserve. It’s been a phenomenal journey and I’m grateful for it every single day. Truly, I’m the luckiest person alive.
As impersonal as it may seem through a blog post, I want to offer sincere thanks every single person that’s joined me on this journey; no matter how much or how little, you’ve all played a part. From colleagues, to managers, to bosses, to clients, to conferences, and everyone in between: thank you.
But it’s been hard work. A lot of continued hard work. Writing over 200 articles, releasing open-source projects, developing and sharing new methodologies and techniques, is all just a small part of what’s made this all possible. Looking back on ten whole years begins to put a lot of it into perspective.
Bill Gates once famously said that…
[m]ost people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
The CSS Wizardry journey, it turns out, has been a long one. People often ask me how I got to where I am, and how they can emulate it themselves. They’re often disheartened to hear that it’s taken me a decade, and to them I typically repeat a phrase I learned some time ago:
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
Having this website changed and shaped my career. If you don’t have a blog, I urge you, start working on one this weekend. Your own blog, with your own content, at your own domain. It might just change your life.
As CSS Wizardry is, first and foremost, a personal blog, it’s not as highly trafficked as, say, a site like CSS Tricks might be. That said, here are some interesting facts and figures1 from the last decade:
The ten fastest countries2 were:
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The ten slowest countries were:
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Hi there, I’m Harry. I am an award-winning Consultant Web Performance Engineer, designer, developer, writer, and speaker from the UK. I write, Tweet, speak, and share code about measuring and improving site-speed. You should hire me.
I am available for hire to consult, advise, and develop with passionate product teams across the globe.
I specialise in large, product-based projects where performance, scalability, and maintainability are paramount.